“ With the installation of Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans’ extraordinary window in this sacred landmark, Eldridge Street’s evolution now spans three generations — built in the 19th century, preserved in the 20th, and renewed in the 21st.
Robert Tierney, Chairman, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission


Kiki Smith & Deborah Gans

In October 2010, the Museum introduced a monumental new stained-glass window by artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans. This permanent artwork is the culminating piece of our
24-year, award-winning restoration of the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, a New York City and National Historic Landmark. The introduction of this installation in our historic sacred site marries
the new and the old, and places the museum at the crossroads of art, architecture, history and preservation.


Funding for the Kiki Smith-Deborah Gans window is provided, in part, by American Express, The David Berg Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.


What makes Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans’ vision so right for Eldridge Street?

Kiki and Deborah’s design is beautiful. It is about rupture and regeneration, themes that are particularly meaningful in this restored sacred site, one with a history of decline and renewal.

Why commission a new window?

The Museum was faced with a classic preservation dilemma: In a historic site, how do you treat an important architectural feature that has changed?

What did the original window look like?

We don’t know for sure. We know it was stained glass. We know it was circular.

How did you conduct the decision-making process?

A sub-committee of the Museum’s Board of Directors, and the Museum’s Executive and Deputy Directors, oversaw this process.

What technologies are being used to create the window?

Ancient stained-glass techniques meet modern laminated technologies in the creation of this window.

Is there any part that was particularly technologically challenging?

The frame is the most complex part and incorporating the center of the Star of David.

Who is the architectural team working on the window?

We were fortunate to work with an amazing team of professionals, all of whom were involved in the synagogue restoration.

Any new programming related to the window?

We felt it was very important to share with the public the motivations behind our decision.

An American Monument – Kiki Smith & Deborah Gans share thoughts on how Eldridge Street’s history is reflected in their design.

A Veil of Stars – Smith and Gans use a favorite design element to integrate the new into the old.